This story is from the US. In the year 1983 a talented young guitarist was kicked out of his band in the most unceremonious manner. The band had just been signed up for a remarkable deal. They were about to record their first album. But only a couple of days before the recording. The band showed the guitarist the door. In other words he was asked to leave. There was no warning, no discussion, and no melodrama. They literally woke him up one day, and handed him, a bus ticket home.
While on the bus, back to Los Angeles from New York, the guitarist kept asking himself. What was his fault? How did all of this happen? What was his mistake? Did he rub someone the wrong way? Such stupendous contracts, didn’t just, fall out of the sky, especially for the raucous, upstart metal bands. And had he missed his chance of a lifetime?
But by the time the bus rolled into Los Angeles, the guitarist had got over his self-pity. He vowed to start a new band. He decided that his new band would be so very successful, that his old band would forever regret their decision of firing him. He would become so very famous that they would be subjected to years of seeing his face on TV, hearing him on the radio, and seeing his posters on the streets, and his pictures in magazines. While they’d be flipping burgers in some dingy eatery, loading vans, from their shitty club gigs, obese and drunk with their ugly wives, while he’d be rocking out in front of the stadium crowds, live on television. And as a sadist he would bathe in the tears of his betrayers, and each tear would be wiped dry by a crisp clean hundred dollar bill.
Thereon, the guitarist worked as if possessed by some musical demon. He spent months recruiting the best musicians he could find—far better than his previous band mates. He wrote dozens of songs and practiced meticulously. His seething anger fuelled his ambition. Revenge became his muse. Within a couple of years his new band had signed a record deal of their own, and a year later their first album was going gold. In other words it had achieved a sales level meriting a gold disc.
The guitarist’s name was Dave Mustaine and the band he formed was the legendary heavy-metal band Megadeth. Megadeth went on to sell over 25 million albums and went around the world many times. Today, Mustaine is considered one of the most brilliant and influential musicians, in the history of heavy-metal music.
But unfortunately. The band that he was kicked out of, was Metallica, which has sold over 180 million albums worldwide. Metallica is considered by many to be one of the greatest rock bands of all times.
And because of this, in an exclusive and intimate interview in 2003, a tearful Mustaine admitted, that he couldn’t help but still consider himself, a failure despite all that he had accomplished in his mind. For he would always be the guy who got kicked out of Metallica.
Dave Mustaine knowingly or unknowingly chose to measure himself by the inconsequential fact whether he was more successful and popular than Metallica. The experience of getting thrown out of his former band Metallica, was so painful for him. That he considered his success relative to Metallica and as the metric by which to measure himself and his music career.
Despite churning that horrible event of his life into something positive, when Mustaine created Megadeth, his choice to hold on to Metallica’s success, as his life-defining metric continued to hurt him even decades later. Despite all the money, and the fans and the accolades, he still considered himself a failure.
Now you and I may wonder at Dave Mustaine’s situation. This is because you and I have different values than Mustaine has. Because we measure ourselves with a different metrics. Whereas, Mustaine’s yardstick of being better than Metallica helped him launch an incredibly successful music career. But the same yardstick later on tortured him, in spite of his success.
Moral of the story: Be content with what you have in life, and stop comparing yourself with others, especially, your peers.
Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi
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GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
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(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
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